Banking's Top Performers 2011, Part 2: Abridged Version

May 17, 2012 at 11:31 AM

In the second part of our three-part analysis of bank earnings performance for the ABA Banking Journal, we identified the actions that propelled mid-size banks (those with assets between $1 billion and $10 billion) to the top of our rankings. Our top 50 banks and thrifts (25 publicly traded; 25 privately owned) achieved their elevated status by:

  1. FDIC-Assisted Acquisitions: Once again, acquisitions were an important component of strong earnings performance. The majority of acquisitions continued to be FDIC-assisted, though one top performer – Bridge Bancorp (#21) – engaged in a traditional transaction. Bank of the Ozarks, the top performing bank in both 2010 and 2011, continued to use assisted acquisitions to expand its presence in the state of Georgia.
  2. Building Insurance & Trust Revenues: Cambridge Bancorp (#20) and Arrow Financial Corp. (#18) both addressed declines in fee income from retail banking by expanding other lines of business. Cambridge Bancorp engaged in organic expansion, hiring new trust personnel and building two new wealth management offices; while Arrow Financial acquired three new insurance agencies and increased insurance commissions by 147% year-over-year.
  3. Balance Sheet Management: In some cases, the road to success laid in deciding not to engage in certain activities. Faced with irrational loan pricing in its markets, Dime Community Bancshares (#17) chose to focus on capital raising instead of loan growth in 2011. WestAmerica Bancorp (#7) made a similar decision and turned its energies to collecting non-interest-bearing deposits to replace more costly time deposits and borrowings.
The full article, rankings, and analysis can be found at This year, we expanded our analysis to three parts.  We summarized the first part, which discussed the performance of banks with assets of $10 billion or more,here. The third and final installment, ranking community banks (total assets of less than $1 billion), will appear in the June issue of the ABA Banking Journal.
Questions about the analysis and its methodology? Contact Vanessa Mambrino, Consultant, at 202-337-1507 or viaemail.
Eileen Sullivan

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